Monday, October 31, 2005

More Awesome Country Lyrics

Yet more reasons to tune in to country every now and then...

Joe Nichols' "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" ~
She can handle any champagne brunch:
A bridal shower with Bacardi punch.
Jello shooters full of Smirnoff,
But Tequila makes her clothes fall off.

Trace Adkins' "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" ~
Now Honey, you can't blame her
For what her mama gave her
You ain't gotta hate her
For workin' that money-maker
Band shuts down at two
But we're hangin' out till three
We hate to see her go
But love to watch her leave
With that honky tonk badonkadonk
Keepin' perfect rhythm
Make ya wanna swing along
Got it goin' on
Like Donkey Kong
And whoo-wee
Shut my mouth, slap your grandma
There outta be a law
Get the Sheriff on the phone
Lord have mercy, how's she even get them britches on
With that honky tonk badonkadonk
(I swear that Trace has been listening to Missy Elliot)

and Neal McCoy's Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On" ~
He’s on the dance floor yelling Freebird
Singing off pitch but he knows every word
Grabs him another girl and he holds on tight
Now he’s chasing everything in sight
He’ll fall apart when he gets home
Right now his worries are gone
Life looks good, good, good
Billy’s got his beer goggles……. on

Friday, October 28, 2005

Toddler Music for Parents

Two of the best CD's we ever invested in for our kids (strike that, for us) were a Tony Bennett CD and a John Lithgow CD.

Tony Bennett created a wonderful CD of playground favorites called, "The Playground". It's children's songs done in a way to not drive a parent crazy. Have you ever listened to that Purple Vegetarian T-rex? Ugh! I've got eclectic music tastes, but was never much of a crooner fan, but I absolutely loved this CD! Probably my favorite from our early childhood years. I still listen to it occasionally.

The other one is quite good too. John Lithgow had one called "Singing in the Bathtub". We rather enjoyed it too.

Mrs. Van Winkle

I love my wife, but boy can she nap!

She can come home at lunch, sleep for four hours and then go to sleep again at 10p with no problems what so ever. Takes a Prince Charming to wake her up in the morn'.

Outta Context Family Quotes

We're a good southern family. A case in point.

The Mrs. comes in from the field and her first words to the chillun are:

Bubba! Git off yer sister and put that headband down!


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sherman's Revenge

In 1865, W.T.Sherman burned Atlanta (and other parts of Georgia) on his march to the sea. His spirit is unfortunately alive and well in Atlanta today.

For years, Atlanta was known as the city of trees. Southern Pines dominate the landscape on the piedmont, punctuated by various hardwoods. Not so much anymore.

Developers are focused only on quickly throwing up their newest development. Their first task? Complete deforestation and regrading of their property.

And when they are done, they might plant a couple of smaller trees in the parking lot.

I just wish that they'd try to keep more of the landscape originally in place. Atlanta is now a sea of strip shopping malls with islands of green.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

It's Hallowink

My 4 year old boy seems excited that Hallowink (his pronunciation) is coming.

So excited, he's been practicing his evil laugh an awful lot latey.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fudge Ripple Brownies!

One of my favorite sayings to avoid cursing (I am the son of a sailor afterall) is "Fudge Ripple Brownies!".

What's your favorite substitute?

Congress Outta Touch?

NO! Really?

They use unpaid interns, give little or no benefits, are given office space, OSHA regs and Overtime don't apply to their staff, laws that apply to everyday businesses don't reach our representatives.

I've often felt that Congress has lost touch with what our business entrepenuers endure on a daily basis. Listening to the radio on my way home during lunch today, I heard a wonderful idea.

Give each individual elected official $2M, period. They must use that to pay their staff, buy supplies, acquire transportation, etc... pay for things and incur the expenses that impact us regular folks in our daily lives. And at the end of their fiscal year, they can have what's left as their salary.

And they must keep track of their expenses like any business would. And then have to file a tax return, like the rest of us serfs. All the while they'll be held accountable to all the laws they've put in place.

It's a start. Any other ideas?

(Hat tip Boortz)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


"Mr. Secretary, if the nursing home owners are arrested for negligent homicide, why shouldn't you also be arrested for negligent homicide?" McKinney asked.

Excuse me?

If she's got evidence that Secretary Chertoff should be charged, why hasn't she turned this over to the appropriate DA's office? Of course she's grandstanding. It's political face time. That said...

First off the nursing home owners were contracted by the patients and their families to care for them. No one else. And those patients are not the responsibility of the state or nation. FEMA's job is primarily assiting the states in disaster management and recovery, right?

This kind of garbage does nothing to help correct what IS wrong with FEMA. How about an intelligent question like why firefighters were forced to take sexual harrassment classes before heading to New Orleans to act as PR flunkies for FEMA?

Intelligence doesn't seem to be McKinney's (or most other politician's) shtick.

Not to mention the pols seem to be covering up their lack of oversight on what N.O. and La. did with the federal money that congress gave them over the past decade.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Help Our Heroes!

Help provide Heat For Heroes residing in Georgia.

From 'Banter in Altanter':

WGST Radio (640 AM) a local station here in Atlanter has introduced a contest in which any of our local military heroes can be nominated for a prize from WGST and Georgia Natural Gas.

from WGST's site

"...Just send us the name of your hero and a story about his service. The Kimmer will announce one winning military family each Friday beginning on October 21st. Each winning family will receive a $1,000 Georgia Natural Gas Visa Gift Card. The contest ends on December 23, 2005..."

Note: Only GA residents are elligible

Ga Rabid Right to Deny Illegals Access to State Services

Members of Georgia's wretched, rabid right want to keep illegal immigrants from using state services.

They seek to keep limited state resources for legal residents of Georgia. Basically the argument is that they don't contribute to the state's coffers and are a drain on the ability of the state to provide services. Proponents of this legislation would still allow illegals to use some services. School districts will still be required to accept all children, and federal statutes require medical facilites to provide life saving treatement illegal immigrants.

But access to services like collegiate education, welfare, unemployment benefits and the like would be restricted. The republicans invloved in this endeavor swear that they are not 'anti-immigration' but 'anti-illegal-immigration'. I've got little reason to argue with them on that point. There are bound to be bigots within their midst, but they are present in every walk of life and political viewpoint.

My problem with their approach is that I believe this would lead to pockets of stranded illegals that would become second class citizens. Their locales would become ghettos and cause serious problems within and nearby. This lower class would be a bigger drain on our economy as they lose hope, give up all pretenses of assimilating and resort to more criminal pasttimes to get by.

I don't want illegal immigrants in our midst. But if the primary gripe is that they don't contribute to the funding of state services since they don't file income taxes, I've got a solution. Adopting a state version of the Fair Tax would ensure that everyone pays taxes. Whenever an illegal purchases goods/services in Georgia, they'd contribute to the state coffers. And if the illegals desire to live where they aren't taxed, they'll relocate elsewhere. Problem solved. I believe it is a much more humane solution.

And in the meantime, I hope that the Federals would crack down harder on stemming the illegal flow into the country.

Instead, I fear that local politicians are really just stirring up their base with this 'hot-button' issue and trying to receive free air time. This will come at the expense of a truly viable solution.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pascagoula vs. Katrina

I'm back in town. Been in Mississippi for days.

My church sent a relief crew to Pascagoula this past week. We've got ties to a church down there and sent a team to assist the sister church its members recover.

We thirteen showed up early in the parking lot to meet and hook up with our rides. It was cool in Atlanta and still dark when we left. By the time we got to the edges of Atlanta, we were swallowed by a deep fog that carried us deep into Alabama.

We arrive at lunchtime and are taken on a tour of Pascagoula. We head straight to the 'beachfront'. The local attraction, Senator Lott's "lot" has a trailer on it. His house was obliterated and its mass paid a very unwelcome visit to the house behind it. Every house up and down the sea wall was hard hit. Columns were all that remained on one lot. The next looked okay from a distance, except as you get closer, you realize it was moved off its foundation. Another house, closer to the shipyard was lifted off its foundation and wedged under a tree and the massive limbs, preventing the structure from being swept into the bay.

What did survive on the waterfront were the trees. Their roots exposed due to the rushing water undercutting the soil beneath, but still hanging on, much like the citizens of this town. Flying high from the limbs of the arboreal survivors are loads of unclaimed laundry and reams of personal papers. Littering the ground, you’ll find Legos, records, downed tree limbs and even a crate of carefully stored china with just three cracked plates.

The citizens have been trying to clean up. Further inland, head high debris is piled up on the curb in front of almost every house. The sanitation infrastructure is overwhelmed, the only time I saw them in action was to deliver new ‘Herbie Curbies’ that were likely swept or blown away. These ‘lucky’ houses, like the sister church, were soaked to the waist, requiring removal of sheetrock and fiberglass from the waist down. Some folks have removed all walls completely, leaving a skeleton of home inside.

We get right to work. Our team is split up into squads. We have a chainsaw platoon that makes quick work of landscaping nightmares. Another group salvages items from a matriarch’s house and carefully treads over the warped wooden floors and surrounding grounds being cleared of shattered glass picture windows. The third group begins the process of replacing the fiberglass insulation and sheetrock. Yet another cadre tackles the needs of another domicile.

We work ‘till sunset at which point we visit the chow hall of different local church. Salisbury steak, bean medley, peaches are on the menu. In addition to the local volunteers, we see other citizen teams from Indiana, Nebraska, Georgia, and Virginia. Most wear T-shirts of the same color and marked with their affiliation. Some folks lack my iron stomach and instead bolt for the familiarity of their preferred fast food franchises.

We finish and make our way back to the church and finish setting up our base camp. We unroll our sleeping bags and place them on the now inflated air mattresses. We have no laundry facilities so we hang our shirts out to dry in the stairwells and on the back of chairs. Our musk mingles with the smell of the church’s new sheetrock and paint as we await one of the two impromptu showers installed in the bathrooms downstairs.

The next day, more houses are attacked by swarms of marauding volunteers and the former residents as bemused and awed neighbors look on. More lawns are rediscovered beneath the debris and fallen trees. More sheetrock is cut and hung into place. Gutted houses are triple sprayed with bleach to fight the mold. Owners come home from work to be stunned by the progress of what they thought was a hopeless or slow process. Trying their best to thank us, one offers us his FEMA trailer to stay in, another offers an almost frozen cold pack of beer.

Nicknames are given by fellow team members and emblazoned in permanent marker on the backs of our impromptu team T-shirts. Names like ‘Wild Bill’, ‘Brine’, ‘Ski-Rock’, ‘The Professional’, ‘Bosley’, ‘Chainsaw Charlie’ and ‘Just Wright’. We are still learning each other’s names and bonding as a team. I only knew one other team member prior this trip. I needed those names and welcomed their creation. We’ve got pilots, programmers, real estate agents, house moms, sales agents, retired veterans, an ex-DJ, and a former stand up comedian turned staffing corporation owner.

Around town, you see signs. Simple, improvised signs. Many of the business signs are damaged or nonexistent. Every residence has a sign displaying the name of the family in residence, the street number and the name of their insurance company. One owner felt the need to admonish his miniature Doberman’s frolicking in the storm surge by posting a large “Bad Dog” sign in the front yard. Other residents include instructions to the deliverers of FEMA trailers – important info regarding the preferred location and direction of the sewer/septic tank hook up. Paranoid business owners post signs like, “Store is watched, I will shoot!” Another establishment chose to reflect upon their uncertainty, posting “Closed Today” implying that maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be different.

We’ve worked from sun up to sun down. At the end of the day, we wash the muck off and have dinner at a familiar franchise with a bar. We are looking to spend time with each other away from the front line, building relationships with our fellow volunteers who’ve done as much back breaking work as anyone else. I’ve worked so hard that I’ve rarely had or allowed a stray thought of my family. Instead I’ve resorted to calling home while waiting for my turn in the shower or while waiting for a table to open up at the restaurant.

We’ve seen little in the way of wildlife. I’m sure that it is around but I only remember seeing or hearing an occasional crow. No songbirds or raptors. Stray dogs are prevalent unlike the cats. Much of the vegetation has suffered from saltwater contamination, leaves looking like burnt brown. Broken limbs still dangle from trees.

The next morning, we mix up the squads somewhat because the projects have changed. One house, far enough away from the beachfront, had its entire first floor and split-level kitchen flooded. It hasn’t been touched yet. The family is afraid to begin work because their property is located within Flood Plain A. Laws require that the house be bulldozed if the cost of reconstruction exceeds 50% of its value. The family is tight lipped that morning, not sure that anything is worth undertaking to save the domicile.

As the day progresses, most of our team of volunteers are working on the house. Sheetrock is knocked down with hammers, crowbars and whatever else we have handy. In some places, the sheetrock crumbles at the first touch. We rip all the kitchen cabinets out, discovering a few pots and pans still full of Katrina’s fury. By lunch time, the family is moving more enthusiastically, and even opening up to these strange servants.

Behind the walls we find an overpowering smell of musty mold, making the crumbly gypsum boards look like blue cheese. It’s scooped and shoveled into a large metal trashcan along with the soaking wet fiberglass insulation. This family has received some quotes from the contractors and believe that due to our efforts, they’ll be allowed to rebuild. By the end of the day, they are effusive in their praise and have completely opened up to their temporary wrecking crew. We’re glad to help and ask that they let us take their picture. They happily oblige and you can see the hope in their faces when they think about the future. Together we’ve fought back the memories of Katrina and hope has taken deeper root in the hearts of Pascagoula residents.

We got high praise from our charges. We kept hearing how the religious organizations were the most welcome. The Red Cross and FEMA were very poorly thought of by the local denizens. In spite of the difficulties, the citizens are still trying to iron out their problems with organizational and bureaucratic snafus. When witnessing one family reclaiming their living space, one back-door neighbor half-heartedly asked what he had to do to get us to come help him with his place.

The days we’ve spent down there feel like months. I’ve become very attached to my team members and am sort of suffering a withdrawal of sorts. We’ve vowed to find each other on Sundays and accepted offers to drop by any time. I’ve returned home a changed man in many respects. The grind of my daily routine awaits and doesn’t seem quite as important as before. I’m definitely more thankful of what I do have and how little my family has suffered during its existence.

I’m glad I went. I needed to go. I felt an urge to serve. I can’t afford much monetarily, but I was able to give my sweat and blood to the renewal effort. I may go again. It’s what I can do. More people need help. Ninety percent of the congregation’s families of our sister church sustained significant losses. It felt good to help the more than a dozen projects before us. Much more needs to be done. Further West, in Ocean Springs there is a tent city. I don’t know how much rebuilding or even demolition that they’ve been allowed or able to do.

I hope to see some of you in the Gulf Coast or that you have been there.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bravo's "Great Things About Being"

I'm watching this show on Bravo while fixin lunch today. It's called Great Things About Being Red State.

Keep in mind, this show is ALL about stereotyping. I caught pieces of other shows like, "Great Things About Being Blonde." Next up, being 'Fat' or 'Queer'.

Anyway, one statement bothered me. No, not the part about "Jesustainment" or our humor, eatin' everything on our plate and affection for HeeHaw.

The statement? "I can only think of one super hero from a Red State. Colonel Sanders."

Um. Excuse me? Superman was born in Kansas!

Helloooo! He's a redneck rube saving Soddom, er..., Gotham from itself.

The 'enema Falcon

Language is a funny thing.

We're lazy in our pronunciations. We leave out syllables, make contractions, create jargon, use slang, etc...

Spoken language is an ever evolving form of communication, unless you're the snobbish French. Even then it's a losing battle.

We adapt our 'proper' form of language into something more efficient. Hence the use of words like "y'all", "NASA", "newkular", etc...

From some of my Linguistics training in college, I learned that a number of carribean people pronounce the word 'bumble bee' as 'bumbalabee'.

How could that be more efficient? That involves more letters.

Well, the spoken word has different obstacles than the written word.

A consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel pattern is much easier to orally communicate than a string of consonants. If you properly annunciate the word "bumble", you must clearly express the M-B-L to get it correct. But when speaking, the C-V-C-V pattern gives the tongue a chance to rest in a nuetral position before transitioning to yet another consonant.

All this to say that my boy 'Bubba' has difficulty saying 'Millenium'. Instead he tells everyone, and raising eyebrows as a result, that he has an "M'enema Falcon".

We Drink Decaf... Why?

Bought the Mrs. a coffee machine with its own grinder one Christmas.

Naturally, we broke it out of it's cardboard prison and put it to good use that morning.

I drink my coffee black with sugar, and fixed me a piping hot cup to sit down and enjoy the Christmas morn with my familiy.

While letting the coffee cool, I turned to helping my chilluns open their gifts and such. After a while, I remembered my coffee and blindly reached back for it. Instead of a hot cup o' java, I got a fistfull of hair.

Repulsed and confused, I turned my head to see what exactly was amiss to find my beloved cat, ears pulled back, nose pushed deep into my mug, draining my coffee dry!

"Hey!" I exclaimed. "My coffee!" The cat looks up at me, licks his chops and goes back for seconds. Unreal.

Needless to say, I let him have his coffee that day, as I was not going to drink after the family furball. I'll do lots of things, but not that. I made myself another cup.

Since then, we pretty much drink decaf just in case.

Oh, and did I mention? My cat also likes to eat coffee beans. They're now our special kitty treats.

Weird kitty. Thank the Coffee Gods for decaf.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Just You Wait 'till Your Father Gets Home!


In the age of the internet, our kids will not likely hear that familiar phrase.

I'm instant messaging the Mrs. right now about our child.

Do any of you have any favorite creative punishment ideas that were either used on or implemented by you?

One of my all time favorites is removing the bedroom door of an unruly teenager that's in the slamming door phase.

Going to be a Snuggly Christmas

Relations with the Mrs. are going to be much closer this winter.

GA 2004 price per thermal heating unit (Natural Gas) = $.80-$.90
GA 2005 anticpated = $1.60-$1.80

I wonder where my War-for-Oil dividend is?

It's That Time of Year Again...

when you wish your monitor had windshield wipers.

Can I get a "gesundheit?"

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Closing Schools Won't Head Off Fuel Crunch

So says the title of an editorial in the AJC today.

"'ll just worsen Georgia's pathetic achievement levels."

Georgia closed it's school system last Monday and Tuesday in order to conserve deisel fuel. Fuel necessary for school buses to transport our children to and from school. The Governor also asked that all non-essential government travel be stopped.

The problem has become so bad that schools are seriously considering not using school buses for extracurricular activities. Can you say, goodbye Friday night football?

"Obviously, that two-day hiatus did nothing to stave off a fuel crisis because districts are now talking about eliminating one day a week of classes. School shutdowns — in any shape or form — cannot constitute the state's long-term energy policy."

Of course this move would do nothing to 'resolve' the crisis. It did however buy the state and school districts some time to seriously think about what needed to be done. Otherwise we could have had school buses full of children stranded because they ran outta gas. I can imagine the AJC's headlines criticizing the Governor's decisions on that one.

"Obviously, that two-day hiatus did nothing to stave off a fuel crisis because districts are now talking about eliminating one day a week of classes. School shutdowns — in any shape or form — cannot constitute the state's long-term energy policy."

Of course this is not a long-term engergy policy. I believe it was a stop-gap measure to ensure that the state had enough gas in the buses to get our kids to and from school. And the AJC is giving the Governor of Georgia super-power heroes if they think he can affact the macro economics of the nation's fuel supply and how it affects prices in Georgia - short of raising/lowering taxes.

"The governor could, for example, at least try to make good on his campaign promise that 25,000 state employees would be telecommuting by 2005. (Not a bad idea. How about a follow up article on this campain promise? Or was this article just an excuse to take the Republican Governor down a notch?) He can begin to unload every gas-guzzling SUV and sedan in the state motor pool and replace them with fuel-efficient hybrids.(At what cost to taxpayers? I like this idea too, but this solution has to be practical.) Perdue could even lead by example and start taking MARTA to work from the Governor's Mansion in Buckhead, not just one morning for the TV cameras, but every day.(I like this too. Would like to see our ruling class rub shoulders with the uwashed masses like myself.) If the governor actually rode MARTA, he'd better understand the need for the state to support and expand the mass transit options throughout the metro region.(But what if the citizen's don't want it? Won't use it? Not to mention, it won't help us NOW because it'll take years to get any form of light rail expanded to the surrounding counties.)"

"If the schools continue to be the fall guy in an energy crunch, the state's going to wind up with a lot of students whose only job skill is pumping the gas we don't have."

The AJC editorial staff seems to have it out for the Governor. Maybe rightly so. But we close schools when we get snow too. They gonna blame that on him too? And what happens when there are too many snow days? We make up the days at the end of the year. So again, why all the fuss? Oh yeah. Republican Governor. Lefty newspaper.

Once again, instead of doing true in-depth reporting that newspapers supposedly can excel at, we get more of the same.

Instead of taking potshots at the Governor, how about doing an in depth analysis on what would be saved by government workers telecommuting/using hybrids? Show how that unused gas would lower prices at the pumps and increase supply for citizens. Show too how easing summer gas regulations would lower our gas prices in Georgia. As it is now, Georgia has to be supplied with an expensive blend of fuel specially (and costly) formulated for our climate. If we could just use regular 'blends', I'm sure the refineries could more easily produce this regular blend in bigger (and cheaper) batches.

Question? Does the AJC delivery 'boys' and trucks all run on deisel or gas? Shame AJC! You too are denying our kids a proper education!

~~~~~ UPDATE ~~~~~

Today, the 6th of Oct, the AJC ran an article saying the Gov. caved to special interests when chosing to close the state's schools.

The special interest? Farmers who are in midst of harvest.

There's a very limited time window for harvesting crops. We can make up school days at the end of the year if necessary. Big friggin' deal!

And, for what it's worth: Governor was reported on radio today saying that the meeting of that industry group/association occurred after he'd made the decision to close the schools for 2 days. I'd like to see the paper do some actual research on this and either prove/disprove this statement.

Baby Remnants

The chillun' aren't babies any more.

They both use booster seats now. Supposedly they are supposed to use them
until they are 4'9" and taller. I wonder if Princess Babbling Brook will ever reach that?

Now instead of being cute, they are just plain silly.

They both attend 'big' school.

And they both can buckle and unbuckle themselves in the car. I can't tell you how pleasant that makes things.

But we can't seem to justify taking down our panoramic baby mirror from "The First Years".

I can only see their heads in the rear view mirror. But I get full body shots out of the second mirror. It's oddly comforting. Think it is going to be around for quite a while.